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The death toll in Ukraine increased to 39 a day after the biggest Russian air assault on the country since the beginning of the nearly two-year-old conflict, according to reports.

“Almost 120 cities and villages have been affected with hundreds of civilian objects damaged,” said Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in a post on X Saturday, adding the attack resulted 159 wounded in the Friday assault which saw Russia launch more than 150 missiles and drones at Ukrainian targets over 18 hours.

In his tweet, Zelensky pushed the West to continue to help his country in the now long-running battle.

“Weapons in the hands of Ukrainians are always a means of protecting lives, and each manifestation of Russian terror repeatedly proves that we cannot delay assistance to those who stand against terror,” he said. “Together, we must defeat it.”

As Ukraine dug out from the aftermath of the attack, Russian authorities said their military had shot down dozens of missiles and drones Saturday which left 14 people, including two children, dead in the country’s southwest.

Russian emergency workers extinguish a car fire following Ukrainian retaliatory air strikes on Russia Saturday. via REUTERS
Firefighters in Kharkiv, Ukraine, put out fire after a Russian missile attack in the region. Russia launched its biggest airstrikes against Ukraine Friday. Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Units in the country’s Belgorod region had thwarted “an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack”, the Russian defense ministry said.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, said a man had been killed when a house was struck.

Four people were being treated for injuries and 10 private homes sustained damage and the water supply in the city of Belgorod was disrupted, Gladkov said, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the number of Russian military casualties — killed and wounded — continued to rise to nearly 300 per day compared to last year, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said Saturday in a post on X.

Ukrainian residents at a housing complex in Odesa survey the damage after a Russian airstrike on Friday. ZUMAPRESS.com
Firefighters work to extinguish burning cars in Belgorod in Russia after a series of deadly Ukrainian airstrikes. Ukraine blasted Russia in a retaliatory air campaign on Saturday. via REUTERS

“The increase in daily averages, as reported by Ukraine authorities, almost certainly reflects the degradation of Russia’s forces and its transition to a lower quality, high quantity mass army since the ‘partial mobilization’ of reservists in September 2022,” said the ministry’s Intelligence Update, adding it will likely between five and ten years for Russia to rebuild the highly trained part of its military units.

“If casualties continue at the current rate, by 2025 Russia will have sustained 500,000 military personnel killed and wounded in over three years of war,” the briefing continued. “This is compared to the Soviet Union’s 70,000 casualties in the nine-year Soviet Afghan War.”

with Post wires

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Drone attacks launched against Russia after deadliest airstrike on…

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